ROSEVILLE (CBS13) – There was a strong show of support at Roseville Galleria on Saturday for a gay couple asked to leave the mall recently because they had been holding hands and kissing.
Hundreds of gay rights activists showed up for the peaceful protest that started with a kiss, but is now gaining national attention.
“We have every right, just as everyone else does, to feel comfortable in our own skin, loving our partners,” said Robert Woodward, who attended the event titled “Love is Love.”
Love is love was the theme for a gathering that started off as a protest.
Shara Murphy, executive director of the Sacramento LGBT Community Center said the goal of the event was “to understand why the community was hurt by their response.”
The LGBT community is now helping the mall move forward after a security guard asked a gay couple to leave for being affectionate
Murphy says she also hopes he mall will “have more training for their employees, to be a better ally in the community.”
The mall offered water and food for people who came out today. They say their ultimate goal is to make everyone feel comfortable.
“Someone was made to feel singled out,” said Roseville Galleria Executive Director Stephanie Ringey.
The mall says after their initial response, which was to defend the security guard’s actions, they listened to the community and changed their mind.
Sixteen thousand people were invited on Facebook to Saturday’s event. Organizers hope the mall is taking notice.
“I think it’s going to take time to move past this,” said Woodward.
Ringey says the mall is taking steps to make sure something like this doesn’t happen again.
“Starting and taking these relationships and expanding and making sure everyone feels welcome at our mall,” said Ringey.
“It’s pretty frustrating to have this happen,” said Woodward.
“We’re here to start a discussion, to get people to open their minds,” said Tracy Schweiger, who attended the event.
“What’s important is love, and all love is love, and we respect individuals and their right to love,” said Murphy.
A mall spokesperson says they met with the event organizers beforehand and wanted to help support the event.
It’s not known if any disciplinary action was taken with the security guard who kicked out the gay couple.